Trends in solid state storage technology


If there’s one thing that every company always wants more of, it’s storage space. And we are not talking about larger wardrobes, storerooms and lockers. We mean your data storage, specifically your hard drives.

As your company and your customer base grows, the amount of data you collect and need to store also increases – and these days that doesn’t just mean a list of name and addresses. You have emails, documents, databases, spreadsheets, presentations, videos, graphics and audio files to retain. What’s more, the software and applications you use also take up a great deal of disk space. And don’t forget, that whatever size your company is, you’ll need to carry out constant backups of files and data. This is not just for business security but also to ensure that you remain compliant with new regulations in your industry.

Since the mid 1980s, when storage requirements outgrew floppy disks, it has mostly been hard drives (HDD) that have been used for data storage and to run our computers. These traditional hard drives are basically spinning metal disks with a magnetic coating that stores your data and is read by an arm with a read/write head that moves above the disk to seek out or write the necessary data. HDD drives are generally reliable, getting cheaper all the time and remain the standard when it comes to storage. But they are not the only option when it comes to storage.

Traditional hard drives now have competition in the form of Solid State Drives (SSDs) which do pretty much the same job, but with no moving parts. Instead all your data is stored on interconnected flash memory chips. It is similar, (but not quite the same as) the flash memory you get in SD cards and thumb drives, only slightly faster and more reliable.

So you may be asking yourself; what is the advantage of SSD drives over the more traditional option. After all, they both do the same job in booting your PC and then storing your data and applications.

Well for a start, SSD drives are smaller, lighter and have no moving parts, this makes them cooler and slightly more robust than HDDs with reduced potential for data loss. They are also less likely to fail due to your computer moving about, being dropped or being exposed to major changes in temperature. This may not be so important on an office PC but if you’re working in the outback, it could be a godsend.

Another of advantage of SSDs is their speed. SSD drives boot your computer up in seconds and work faster than a traditional hard drive, which needs time to warm up and reach its operating specs. As well as this extra speed in performance, the SSD drive has fewer issues with fragmentation as there’s no moving arm to physically find and read data when it is spread around the disk. SSDs are also a great deal quieter than traditional disks but whether you consider this a big selling point probable depends how susceptible you are to noise.

Of course, all of this improved performance doesn’t come cheap. At the moment, SSD drives are considerably more expensive than their traditional counterparts. Though as with most IT innovation, prices per gigabyte are likely to drop over the long term.

You may wonder how useful SSD tech is when it comes to coping with huge amounts of data. Of course, most SMBs dealing with a lot of data will be using server storage but SSD is coming into its own in this area too. At the moment SSD servers are generally only used by organisations that rely on the highest performance possible when it comes to accessing data such as big ecommerce sites, where response time is critical and hundreds or thousands of transactions are taking place every second. In such organisations, any IT latency or bottlenecks can end up costing a lot of money. At the moment, a move to SSD servers is not likely to be a good solution for smaller companies though, as it is simply far too expensive.

Director of Empower IT, Salim Sukari says, “Small and medium sized Australian businesses keeping an eye on their bottom line will probably continue to use HDD technology for a while to come. But the IT landscape is changing and it looks like SSD drives are the future when it comes to data storage and improved performance. But whatever system you choose to meet your needs, you can be sure that the team here at Empower IT are always on the cutting edge of the technology and will be able to tailor and advise about the solution that best meets your needs.”

At least when it comes to storage, we have increasing options that are offering more space while becoming more efficient increasingly cheaper over time. Now if only we could say the same of our actual office spaces.

Want to know more about your data storage or drive options? Get in touch with the Empower IT team and we will give you the best advice on all the latest applications and tech.